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October 26, 2005

Yahoo Tests Travel Planner



Courtesy of InternetWeek

Yahoo Inc. on Wednesday launched in beta online tools for vacation planning.

Trip Planner Beta, available through Yahoo Travel, can create, print and share with others personalized trip itineraries, officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif., Web portal said. Information is drawn from Yahoo, as well as from anywhere else on the Web.

Other new features include travel photos from Flickr, Yahoo's photo-sharing service, and a database of vacation home rentals from owners. The user-contributed photos complement the 300,000 existing photos in Yahoo Travel, the company said.

Other features currently available on Yahoo Travel are message boards to discuss destinations with other travelers, consumer ratings and reviews on various locations, hotels, restaurants and activities; and listings for vacation rentals and points of interest.

In beefing up its services, Yahoo apparently is looking to lure more shoppers from online travel agencies, which are where more than half of online travel shoppers begin their search, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Fully, 54 percent of shoppers begin their research at a travel agency, compared to 37 percent that start with airlines, and 9 percent with a travel meta-search provider, the research firm says.

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